The hobbits are standing outside the Bree gate, very wretched in the pouring rain. Frodo, as spokesman bangs at the door. The viewer can sense them shivering under their drenched clothes, from nervousness, cold and exhaustion....
The gatekeeper opens to them at last, the light of his lantern thrown over Frodo's face as he makes their case. The gatekeeper is suspicious and keeps them standing.
Frodo obviously shares in the fatigue of his companions, and is fully aware of the hobbity misery at his back. Without losing his dignity, Frodo presses their suit for admittance. He moves from tones of polite request to anxious plea to exasperated demand, all in a few short speeches. Frodo is tired and testy, and the gatekeeper had better look about him -- and open that door.
The last two shots are from the briefest flash of Frodo's face, a reaction shot, after he sees the sign of the Prancing Pony swinging over a door nearby.
Especially in this first series of shots, I was struck by how mature Frodo looked. Perhaps it's just the set of his face, especially around the mouth, when he is having to be adamant and forceful. Scrolling through these, I felt as though I was seeing Frodo's face (and Elijah Wood's) many years hence, not his face when he was setting out. The tension around and in his mouth as he speaks, greatly diminishes the young, dewy look of those lips so many of us have longed to pluck and taste like early-summer fruit.
In fact, had the filmmakers done the book version of the passing of years in FotR (in which Gandalf does not return after Bilbo's Farewell Party for seventeen years, not the year implied by the films), this face of film Frodo would be about perfect. Technically, he doesn't look any older, and neither does book Frodo (since he is in possession of the Ring for those 17 years). But this face seems to bear the marks of years of experience, a face that time has chiselled, even if subtly. It is quite different, to me, from his usual soft-faced look.
Although I have lightened and sharpened these images, they still are rather dark. Viewing them in a darkened room is helpful.
Here is an example of an unretouched screencap from this scene:
~ Frodo demands admittance at the Bree gate, from the theatrical version of FotR, full-screen version:
Here are two frames from the moment when Frodo sees the sign for the Prancing Pony.
Now, there are those dewy, ripe-fruit lips again.
(And what a stunning chin.)
Next Bree entry here.
Click HERE for table of Frodo and Elijah Wood Screencaps.